By Paul Lecker
WAUSAU – The Marshfield wrestling team is going back to the state team tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons after posting a 40-27 win over River Falls in a WIAA Division 1 team wrestling sectional Tuesday night at Wausau West High School.
The Tigers won the final four matches to overcome a slim deficit, but the match was really never in doubt as they finished up with four of their top wrestlers.
River Falls led 27-23 after a 15-8 win by Aidan Peterson over Grayden Rode at 126 pounds, but the Tigers’ lineup was setup to finish strong, and it did.
Keagan Cliver started the run with a dominant 20-5 technical fall victory at 132 pounds as he was never challenged.
Hoyt Blaskowski followed that up with as dominant of a performance as one could have, needing just 10 seconds to pin Chance Saumer at 138 pounds to put Marshfield on top 34-27.
Marshfield had to win one of the final two matches to punch its ticket to the state tournament and junior Brett Franklin took care of business right away.
The junior shut out Owen Larson 6-0 to win at 145 pounds to give the Tigers a 10-point lead with just one match left.
For good measure, Garrett Willuweit won 11-5 at 152 to finish off the victory for Marshfield, which heads back to the state team tournament for the second year in a row. The Tigers also made it in 2018 and 2019, giving this year's senior class three team state berths.
“We felt confident coming in here,” Marshfield coach Cody See said. “These kids are battle-tested. They’ve had a lot of really tough duals this year. I knew if we wrestled how we have all year, we would be just fine. They did great fine.”
Ryan Dolezal started the match with a 26-11 technical fall win for Marshfield at 160 pounds and Camren Dennee earned a forfeit at 170 to push the Tigers off to a quick lead.
After a pair of decisions for River Falls, Marshfield’s Adrian Kruger pinned Lincoln McCarty in 3:23 in a pivotal match to make it 17-6.
“That won felt really good,” See said. “Adrian wrestled really awesome there, getting the fall, capitalizing in a low-scoring match.”
River Falls won the next three matches by pin to give the Wildcats a 24-17 lead before Caleb Dennee stopped the streak for the Tigers with a pin of his own at 120.
After Peterson’s win for River Falls at 126, the Tigers ran the table and will head to Madison in two weeks.
The 2022 WIAA State Team Wrestling Tournament will be held March 4-5 at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse. Seedings will be announced at the individual state tournament next week.
Marshfield will turn its attention to the Division 1 individual sectional on Saturday at Eau Claire North where 12 of its 14 wrestlers will battle for spots in the WIAA State Individual Tournament, which will be held Feb. 24-26 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Marshfield 40, River Falls 27
160: Ryan Dolezal (MAR) won by technical fall over Jacob Range, 26-11.
170: Camren Dennee (MAR) won by forfeit.
182: Tyler Haydon (RF) def. Cody Weix, 12-8.
195: Gavin Kohel (RF) def. Joey Carolfi, 8-2.
220: Adrian Kruger (MAR) pinned Lincoln McCarty, 3:25.
285: Vito Massa (RF) pinned James Clements, 1:00.
106: Jonas Longsdorf (RF) pinned Ava Gardner, 1:06.
113: Travis Moelter (RF) pinned Jace Kelnhofer, 0:49.
120: Caleb Dennee (MAR) pinned Quentin Anderson, 0:50.
126: Aidan Peterson (RF) def. Grayden Rode, 15-8.
132: Keagan Cliver (MAR) won by technical fall over Vinny Costabilo, 20-5.
138: Hoyt Blaskowski (MAR) pinned Chance Saumer, 0:10.
145: Brett Franklin (MAR) def. Owen Larson, 6-0.
152: Garrett Willuweit (MAR) def. Miles Longsdorf, 11-5.